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>This really is an open question, for a number of reasons.
It really isn't, because of basic chemistry.
Ruminants like cows and sheep produce large quantities of methane as an unavoidable part of their digestive process. Methane is 25x more potent as a warming gas than CO2. There are some feed tricks that can slightly reduce methane production, but ruminants simply cannot digest food without making methane. That means we'll have to eat a lot less beef, a lot less lamb and a lot less dairy; there are perfectly adequate dietary substitutes for those products, but the vast majority of people substantially prefer beef to TVP and cow milk to soya milk. Maybe we'll develop bioengineered substitutes that are basically indistinguishable, but we don't have time to wait for that technology - we have to cut back now.
Producing steel unavoidably requires burning coke, because the difference between iron and steel is the addition of carbon. We can build more efficient blast furnaces, we can use alternative energy sources for most of the heating, but steel manufacturing is inescapably carbon-intensive, so we need to make a lot less steel.
Portland cement is the fundamental component of concrete, plaster and mortar. Some of the CO2 emitted from the production of Portland cement is from heating and transportation, but most of it comes from the chemical reaction of converting CaCO3 into CaO. For every molecule of lime, you unavoidably produce one molecule of CO2. We have some substitutes for Portland cement in some applications, but they're all more expensive and less durable.
I could go on for days about this, but suffice it to say that we face a very long list of very hard problems, for which the only reasonable answer right now is "consume less". Maybe we develop a whole tranche of technologies by 2050 that make the whole transition to zero-carbon completely painless, maybe we figure out cold fusion, maybe God comes down from heaven and slurps up all of the CO2, but we have to act on the assumption that none of that will pan out.
>Hence why the activism pushing for systemic change is so important -- that's what it means, getting government to listen to the public.
But the public want a fantasy. They purport to care about climate change, but they aren't willing to countenance the realities of addressing it. Corporations don't pollute for shits and giggles, they pollute as a side-effect of providing us with goods and services. You might want to stop climate change, but that doesn't matter in the least - the question is what you're prepared to give up to achieve that aim. As I asked before, how many people would vote for a party that wants to ban passenger aviation? How many would vote for a party that wants to ration petrol and meat?